If you’ve made your career working in the emergency room, it may feel like those ER jobs that had become harder to come by are now coming back. While the harsher-than-expected flu season may have made that temporarily true, the reality is that eventually the tighter market for ER jobs will return. Overall, limited needs have off-set the market, making it more difficult for some to find the ideal assignment.
There are a couple of reasons for that.
First, health systems are opening more and more free-standing ERs as a way to alleviate some of the wait times at the more traditional emergency rooms inside of a hospital.
Second, insurance companies are incentivizing the use of urgent care facilities by lowering the copays for urgent care visits to a fraction of what it costs to visit the ER.
Both of these tactics are working, so hospital emergency rooms are seeing more true emergent cases, but, overall the number of cases coming in is down. That reduces the need for ER staff and, in turn, the need for ER travelers.
So, what do you do if you’re an ER specialist caught in that crunch? Here are a couple of ideas.
Consider other departments
Yes, you love the ER, but have you ever stopped to consider why? Is it the pace? Is it the adrenaline rush? Is it the interaction with a specific type of patient? Take a moment to make that list then share that list with your recruiter. Chances are good that there is another department inside the hospital that would give you those things that you enjoy about your ER job. For instance, the pace in some med/surg departments can be very similar to the ER if you are in the right hospital. Or a job in the ICU could keep you in contact with patients needing critical care, just like the ER.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to take a staff job to get the experience you need to be considered for a placement in a new hospital. Yes, it would help, but if you enjoy the traveling lifestyle there are hospitals that will consider your overall experience and hire you for a position outside of your specialty. Your recruiter should know where those hospitals are and help you find a placement that’s open to considering you.
Optimize your resume
If you’ve been relying on a bare bones resume that lists little more than dates and locations of employment to land you your next job, then it’s time for you and your recruiter to get to work. You two need to build a resume that highlights you and your actual capabilities not just your work history.
Start by giving more details about those places you’ve worked. How many beds were in the facility? How many in the unit? This will tell any future employers about the kind of pace you can handle.
Did you float? Indicate to where; it implies potential additional skills or experience that a hospital could consider valuable.
Most critically, though, is telling more about what you actually did at each assignment. Who did you provide care to? What did you do when providing that care? Did you pick up any special skills, like being able to provide critical drips? All of that shows what you are capable of, and it can be the difference between getting an interview and not.
So, yes, the ER job market is tightening up, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave traveling if ER is your specialty.
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